Bekal Fort: The Lesser Explored Beauty of Kerala

When we talk about Kerala, we talk about the lush green tea estates of Munnar, the serenity of Backwaters of Alleppy or beauty of the coffee fields of Wayanad or maybe the Forests of Periyar. But there is much more to “God’s Own Country”, one such beauty that has probably been least explored in Kerala is the Bekal Fort and its Surroundings.
Bekal is situated in Kasargod District of Kerala about 370 Km from Bangalore.
How to Reach: KSRTC Buses operate between Bangalore and Kasargod. Though you wont get AC ones, but non AC ones are quite comfortable too. We boarded the bus from Bangalore’s Shantinagar Double Road Bus Station. Reached Kasargod Bus Station early morning around 6 am. Auto services are readily available and charges you about Rs 15/km without much hassles. Bekal Fort is about 12 km from the Kasargod Bus Station.

Since our check in time was around noon, we went for a quick visit to the Kasargod Beach. Kasargod Beach at 7 am in the morning is pristine. You just sit and gaze at the relentless waves hitting the shores. After spending about an hour in Kasargod Beach we headed for Bekal. 
Where to Stay: There are about 4-5 hotels in Bekal. Two of them are in 5 star category and hence overtly expensive. The best bargain for hotel is Nirvana@Bekal, right opposite the Bekal fort. This is the best located hotel in Bekal, serene environment, clean cottages and very hospitable staff. Room rates are quite reasonable. They charge around INR 2300 for a Deluxe room and INR 800 for an extra cot.
Inside the resort
Cottages at Nirvana 
We had a quick breakfast and headed to explore the Bekal Fort. Bekal fort is the largest fort in Kerala, overlooking the mighty Arabian Sea. It was constructed by Shivappa Nayaka of Bednore in 1650AD. Bekal served as one of the military station of Tipu Sultan when he led the great military mission to capture Malabar.  But as most of us are unaware Bekal was rediscovered by Mr Mani Ratnam where he shot the lovely song “Tu hi re” from the movie Bombay. At present the fort is maintained by Archaeological Survey of India.
The fort is magnificent and you need a minimum of 2 hrs to explore all its nooks and corner. The entry fee to the Fort is as cheap as INR 5 only and INR 25 for carrying cameras. 
The only turn off was the extreme heat but the beauty of the Fort had compensated for it all. The few pictures we clicked will probably talk of the magnificence and beauty of this fort.
The fort would probably look its best during sunset but sadly it closes by 5 pm.

The second best thing to do at Bekal is to have a walk along the Bekal Beach. Nirvana@Bekal has a short cut to Bekal Beach and it remains empty most of the time. 
Oh how I love beaches that are yet to be tainted by commercial gibberish !!
Evenings are pin drop silence in and around the Fort. Sit back, relax and talk to you own self and probably doing nothing, sometimes is the best way to spend time. 
The day ended with an early cozy dinner, chit chats and gossips.
Day 2: We went for an early morning stroll to the beach. The fort was extremely crowded on the second day for that was Sunday. Mostly localites come here for a day trip. We checked out around 2 pm and headed to Valiyaparamba Backwaters, about 60 kms from Bekal. It takes about 1 and half hour to reach from the fort in an auto.
It’s a calm and serene stretch of Backwaters. The drive to this place was even more beautiful. Interior roads of Kerala are too good to be true. We spent a couple of hrs before starting our journey back, staring at the long stretch of water, the green vegetation and blue sky.
Travel Tips:
  • Arm yourself with bottles of water, umbrellas and sunglasses, its too hot almost round the year.
  • The best time to visit is the rainy season. Though off season, locals say Bekal is at its best during the rains.
  • Don’t stay anywhere but at Nirvana@Bekal. Right opposite to the Fort, reasonable on pockets, standard services and great hospitality.
  • If you are not habituated to Keralian cooking styles like me, please issue a disclaimer with every meal you order: 1: Not to put Curry Leaves in every other dish they prepare, 2: Avoid cooking in Coconut oil. (P.S: I have no intentions to hurt their cooking styles, just that this is something my taste buds strictly deny!!)
  • If you wish to visit the nearby Backwater by an auto make sure you are connected to GPS, the auto drivers have a tendency to detour and charge for extra kilometers. 
All in all Bekal should be a must on your Bucket List when you are visiting God’s Own Country!! Beautiful is an understatement to what the Fort has to offer 🙂 
Visit it to Believe it!!



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